Monday night, the Yankees beat up on the Blue Jays (NYY 10, TOR 8) en route to their ninth win in 10 games. New York has a five-game lead in the AL East and they welcomed Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge back from the injured list just last week. Add in Edwin Encarnacion and their lineup is as scary as it gets.
At some point between now and the July 31 trade deadline the Yankees will add a starting pitcher. Maybe even two. It is a near certainty. Marcus Stroman, who is not scheduled to pitch during this week's series at Yankee Stadium.. Among the most rumored names is Blue Jays hurler
Prior to Monday night's series opener Stroman was asked about possibly joining the Yankees, and while stopped short of saying he would welcome a trade -- "No comment. I don't even want to think about it," he told reporters -- he did say he believes he is "built for" New York. From Dan Martin of the New York Post:
"I'm built for this,'' said the 28-year-old, who grew up on Long Island and went to Patchogue-Medford High School. "Anybody can say whatever, but I'm built for the bright lights. I'm not scared of it. I've never been. I take that ball each and every time with the pressure on. I love it.''
"New York is like the mecca of the world,'' the 5-foot-7 Stroman said. "I love the excitement, I love the bright lights, I love competition, I love pressure, so I've always loved pitching here. Even if I haven't necessarily pitched fairly well here, I've always enjoyed it. … I love the spotlight. The bigger the moment, that's kind of where I've always wanted to be."
For what it's worth, Stroman has a 6.37 ERA with a .298/.372/.497 opponent's batting line in nine career starts and 41 innings at the current Yankee Stadium. Of course, he faced the Yankees in those games, and the Yankees have had some pretty good lineups the last few years. He wouldn't have to face the Yankees as a Yankee.
The Blue Jays are 29-50 and on pace to lose 100-plus games for the first time since losing 100 games in back-to-back-to-back seasons during the franchise's first three years of existence (1977-79). Stroman will become a free agent following next season and his trade value. He can be a part of two postseason runs now. Wait until the winter (or next year's deadline) to trade him, and his new team only gets one postseason run.
Stroman has a 3.05 ERA in 17 starts and 100 2/3 innings this season. His 57.9 percent ground ball rate is in line with his career rate (59.7 percent) and ranks second highest among the 83 pitchers with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. Only Cardinals righty Dakota Hudson does a better job keeping the ball on the ground (61.7 percent). A ground ball heavy pitcher would be a great fit for homer happy Yankee Stadium, especially in the launch angle era.
Once upon a time intradivision trades were taboo. That is no longer the case. Just last year the Yankees and Blue Jays linked up for the J.A. Happ trade at the deadline. Trading within the division is a non-issue. The biggest obstacle here is the Yankees and Blue Jays finding common ground. I'm sure other teams will be involved and a bidding war is good news for Toronto.